Teenage misfits form a bond and become THE BREAKFAST CLUB
“That man is a brownie hound”
One of my favorite songs in 1985 was “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. I knew it so well because of the music video which I rewatched again and again. At the time the single was featured in John Hughes’ film The Breakfast Club sort of as its main theme. It would be a couple years before I actually saw The Breakfast Club (on VHS) but when I did, it became one of my favorite teen comedies of all time. The story was about five high school kids (Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy) who must serve a special detention on the weekend for their misdeeds. When they arrive in the school’s library (BTW, has anyone ever seen such a cool looking school library before?) and get situated, the laughs begin. Paul Gleason plays Richard Vernon (aka “Dick” or “Rich”) the principal and he is just outstanding in his role as the ultimate A-hole authority figure. Vernon’s nemesis is one John Bender, a comical slacker student played with brilliance by Judd Nelson. Bender is clearly a hard rockin, beer drinkin’, pot smokin’ dude who dislikes The Man. Locked in the vacancy with John are Claire (Molly Ringwald) a rich chicky, Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez) a wrestling champ, Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) a bookish nerd and Allison (Ally Sheedy) a grungy dandruff headed girl that noone really knows. As these misfit teens spend time together they slowly and rather painfully work out their issues with one another. A kind of teenage trial by fire. The animosity between the different cliques (richies, jocks, potheads, geeks etc) is intense as it often is in real life. Writer-Director John Hughes was able to honestly and humorously depict how kids see each other and adults while also creating a forum that uncovers the secrets, fears and hopes they have. Along with the screwball antics drummed up by Bender & his new gang, the film is an excellent look at how peer pressure affects kids and the lengths they’ll go to prove their worth to friends and parents alike. The movie has become an 80s cult classic due to its highly memorable dialogue (“neomaxizoondweebie”) and endearing performances from the colorful cast. What’s great about The Breakfast Club to me is how it seems to be Hughes’ dream of what it would be like if for once all the different cliques of kids came together and became friends. It asks: What if the popular high school jock was friends with the nerdy kid? and What if the rich preppy girl fell in love with the long haired rock dude from the other side of the tracks? The Breakfast Club may be just a slice of the crazy 80s to some but for me it’s a crown jewel of the teen comedy genre that contains timeless themes that any generation can watch and appreciate.